After a recent game, the coach of our team was told that extra or stoppage time was added for three injuries during the second half and that additional stoppage time was added whenever the ball was kicked out of bounds. Is extra time allowed to be added for the ball rolling out of bounds? By our watch, there was 10 additional minutes added for out of bounds balls (the ball never crossed a fence or any other obstacle but simply went out of bounds.) The opposing team scored twice during the last 4 minutes of the stoppage time and we lost the match. We have not heard of time being added for routine out of bounds.

USSF answer (June 2, 2008):
Time is not usually added routinely for balls that go out of play under normal circumstances. if the referee is certain that a team is wasting time by constantly and deliberately kicking the ball out of play, then the referee should add time to make up for this loss of playing time.…


Two senior sides are at 1 goal each in the first half.

Twelve minutes before the first half is to finish. The floodlights fail on one side of the field.The grounds people from the home side frantically start to fix the lights & acheive the process in twelve minutes the lights are fully operational in twenty minutes. The referee & assistant officials rule that due to the break taken by players for the delay while light maintenace was performed. There would be a resumption for twelve minutes to finish the first half.Then no break would be taken,& the teams would turn & play the second half of 45 minutes.Both teams were aware of the decision. During the twelve minutes to finish the second half, the home team scored making the score 2v1. The half finished the referee blew the whistle to turn around for the second half. However the visiting team decided that they were not going to participate in the second half & walked in protest due to no break being allowed between halves. The referee gave them seven minutes to retake their position on the field to no avail.

They simply got dressed & left the ground. Please can you advise if the team should falfit the game & the points be awrded to the home side who were winning at the time of abandoment, or should the game have to be replayed. Please can you give reference to the fifa rule if any, that answers this dilemma.

USSF answer (May 27, 2008):
The referee’s decision to forego the halftime break was not in keeping with Law 8:

Half-Time Interval
Players are entitled to an interval at half-time.
The halftime interval must not exceed 15 minutes.
Competition rules must state the duration of the half-time interval.
The duration of the halftime interval may be altered only with the consent of the referee.

While the Law does allow the referee to consent to alteration of the DURATION of the halftime break, it does not permit the referee to do away with the interval if even only one player wants the break.…


A player takes a throw-in correctly. The ball does not enter the field of play but remains outside the touch line. What action does the referee take?
The throw-in is retaken.

I am assuming that “takes a throw-in correctly” means that the player had both feet on the ground, on our off the touchline, facing the field, both hands on the ball with the ball being brought behind the head and then thrown and released and the ball just doesn’t enter the field of play.

What happens if a player takes a throw-in “incorrectly” but the ball never enters the field? What is the re-start if a thrower lifts one foot during the throw-in but the ball never enters the field? I would believe it to be retaken, but a school of thought has arisen by some that feel that the opposing team would get a throw-in.

USSF answer (May 20, 2008):
You will find your answer in the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game”:

Referees must distinguish between a throw-in which infringes on the requirements of Law 15 and one which is not properly taken such that the restart is said not to have been taken. In the first case (infringement), possession of the restart is given to the opponents and taken from the same location; under no circumstances may advantage be applied to a throw-in performed illegally. In the case of a throw-in which is not properly taken, the restart must be taken again by the same team from the same location.

A throw-in may not be performed from a kneeling position under any circumstances.

If the ball touches the ground outside the field before entering the field or if it does not enter the field at all, the throw-in has not properly been taken and must be performed again.

A throw-in which has been performed illegally, for which the referee has stopped play, cannot be given back to the same team in order to perform the restart again. The referee must either decide that the offense was trifling and not stop play, or award the throw-in to the opposing team.

We believe that the “school of thought” to which you refer is probably “attended” by referees who spend too much time with the NFHS rulebook, where the failure of the ball to enter the field on a throw-in is automatically punished by possession of the ball going to the other team for a throw-in by them.

However, the Laws of the Game — the only rules to be used for games played under the aegis of the U. S. Soccer Federation — are clear: If the ball doesn’t enter the field, it has not been put into play and it really doesn’t matter what (if any) technical violations the thrower might have committed in the process. In other words, the thrower could have jumped high into the air but it would still be a retake if the ball never enters the field.

The issue of whether a throw-in is taken correctly or not becomes relevant only in the case of an immediately subsequent violation by the thrower (e. g., second touch or throwing the ball hard at an opponent on the field). In that case, if it wasn’t taken correctly, the restart (throw-in by the opposing team) is based on the first violation, after dealing with any misconduct. ┬áThe Law makes this point explicitly in the case of a throw which results in an opponent being struck violently — if the throw itself was legal, then striking and misconduct occurred; if it wasn’t legal, then only misconduct occurred.

We have had some people asking about the phrase at the end of the Additional Instructions and Guidelines for Referees and Assistant Referees in the Laws of the Game. Under Law 15, the final paragraph reads:

If the ball touches the ground before entering the field of play, the throw-in shall be retaken by the same team from the same position provided that it was taken in line with the correct procedure. If the throw-in is not taken in line with the correct procedure, it shall be retaken by the opposing team.

We have run the matter past FIFA and, for the moment, our original answer stands. It may change next year, but, for the moment, what we have stated is correct, at least in the United States.…


I would appreciate your comments on the following question. I am a a father of five (three in soccer and I coach two of them), a former college player, and have been a soccer ref for a short time. Here is my question:

If, during the course of play, a player clears the ball out (of the defensive end of the field – although I don’t think it matters) can the referee issue a caution (yellow card) for delay of game to the player who cleared the ball? Does it matter whether the player has done it (cleared the ball) several times before during the course of play? How does the referee distinguish between a weak clear and a strong clear?

Does it matter?

As I have always understood the rule, and always seen it applied, a player should only be issued a yellow card for delay in the RESTART of play. Meaning player conduct after the play has been stopped. Until yesterday, I had never seen a ref – and I have never thought it proper(and still don’t) for a ref – to issue a yellow card to a player for clearing a ball. Refs should not be in the position of dictating how hard or where a player decides to clear a ball. See

Would appreciate your thoughts and comments.

USSF answer (May 9, 2008):
The Laws of the Game do not support disciplinary action for clearing the ball down the field. Nor, in fact, do they support a caution for constantly clearing the ball by kicking it out of play, given by many referees who are as inventive as the one whom you observed.…